Putnam County’s past is filled with laughter, love, hard work, and, at times, disaster. All of these things come together to weave the story of the town we know and cherish. While some aspects of the county have changed over time, other traditions have followed us throughout the years and keep us tied to simpler times.
World War II shook the foundations of the world in 1939, and Putnam County was no exception. All but two of the male members of Eatonton High School’s Class of 1938 participated in the service, and those citizens who stayed home also rose up to the challenge of the war effort. Community drives were frequently held to collect tires and scrap metal.
After the war, the citizens of Putnam County settled back into a steady stream of life. Pictured above, a happy group of children prepares for a dance recital at Miss Norma’s Play School, an activity which had practically become a rite of passage by the 1950s.
Dancing wasn’t the only pastime around. The lake country and nearby historic sites provided the perfect backdrop for a Boy Scout troop.
Teenagers had their fun, too. Tucker’s Drug Store was a popular place for after-school socializing. Even though a drug store conjures up images of commercialized pharmacies now, back in the day it was the place to be. With a seating area and malt milkshakes, Tucker’s encouraged anything but the in-and-out atmosphere of drug stores today. A tribute to Tucker’s is built in the Old School History Museum in The Plaza Arts Center. The museum is open for self-guided tours Monday through Thursday (10 am – 4 pm) and for docent-guided tours Friday (10 am – 2 pm) and Saturday (10 am – 4 pm). Sunday tours can be scheduled by appointment.
Eatonton is perfectly nestled between Lake Oconee and Lake Sinclair. It’s no wonder that our slogan is “Close to Everything and Next to Perfect.” It seems the people of Putnam have always felt this way and have taken advantage of all the natural beauty and resources surrounding them. Bringing your fishing prize into town was a great way to show off or pose for a photo opportunity.
Some things never change. Alan Black ran the Torture Trail 10k several times, but in 2001 he broke the record for finishing time that had reigned supreme since 1985. The Torture Trail 10k is an annual race that draws in hundreds of runners every year. It kicks off the Dairy Festival celebration each summer, and in 2018 it celebrated its 40th run.
The court standing on the float may have changed since the one featured above in1955, but the Dairy Festival is still running strong. A parade, milking demonstrations, and free ice cream make this annual event one to remember. It’s easy to feel connected to your Putnam roots as the tractor and float parade carries celebrators down the small-town streets.
Destiny is an intern at the Eatonton-Putnam Chamber of Commerce. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from Georgia College and State University and is expected to graduate with her master’s in the same in May 2019.